At some point Christianity needs to start being about Jesus.
Do I have your attention with that?
Let’s have a little talk.
The Church- God’s redeemed starting at the time of Pentecost- has about 2000 years under its belt. There have been some amazing years (that first year…! wow!), and some rough patched (Crusades…), and many in between. I love reading and knowing the history of the Church in order to better lead the local church in which I serve. If we do not understand our roots, our history, our background, then we shoot aimlessly into the future. These 2000 years are vital to understand.
I have dedicated the last nine years of my life to studying about the history of the Church, and to serving it, and to knowing the Bible. In those nine years I have probably read of over 100 places where there has been, or is, or could be disagreement. Some of these are incredibly technical translation issues, others are philosophical in nature, and others are matters of pride and pragmatism.
Spoiler: I love discussing these things – but this blog post is not about any of them.
Discussing controversy is important. We want to have an understanding of where others come from, and we also want to know if we are standing on sure footing in what we believe or practice. But when we get stuck in controversy rather than proclaiming Christ, we fall short of what it means to be a Christian (1 Timothy 1:3-7; 4:6-10).
This point became clear to me this morning when I read Romans 16 as part of my read through the Bible in a year. This is a chapter that has multiple text critical and translation issues, —Again, I am not going to discuss them in this blog — but it is also a highly encouraging and uplifting passage. It has the names of historical people, and it shows us the ultimate optimism which is the Gospel
“The God of Peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet.” V. 20
So why don’t we remember this chapter for the glory that it is?
Because we have a hard time keeping our eyes on Jesus.
Read with me verses 5& 6. These are the two verses in between two “controversial” verses about women in ministry (again… not going to talk about it in this blog!)
16:5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Who is this “beloved Epaenatus” (Επαίνετον τον ἀγαπητόν μου) that Paul is talking about? Do we have any other record of him?
I don’t know…
My commentaries discuss the “controversial” parts of Romans 16 and glance over this passage.
When you talk about your church, the Bible, Christianity, or other Christians, do you talk about them in a way that makes Jesus known? Do you honor their Lord and Saviour by how you talk about other Christians? Do you honor the One who is the “Head of the Church” when you talk about his bride (Ephesians 5:21-33)? When you discuss differences in theology, are you trying to “win” or are you trying to know the heart of God on that matter? When you talk about evangelism and missions, do you talk about numbers, strategies, and methods, or do you talk about the One who is the King of the Kingdom which you are spreading?
Let’s make Christianity about Jesus Christ again.